Caught in the mid­dle

Renters an­gry af­ter water ser­vices abruptly cut by city

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY COLIN MA­CLEAN

Sum­mer­side city coun­cil is ex­am­in­ing its pol­icy for shut­ting off util­i­ties when bills are out­stand­ing af­ter more than 30 fam­i­lies had their water cut off last week with­out no­tice.

Cur­rently, the city has a pol­icy of dis­con­nect­ing util­ity ser­vices for over­due ac­counts af­ter de­liv­er­ing two writ­ten warnings, at least 14 days apart, to a prop­erty owner.

Coun. Bruce MacDougall raised the is­sue at coun­cil Mon­day night af­ter hear­ing from res­i­dents in the 36 units at McQuaid Court, who woke up one morn­ing last week with no water to their town­houses.

Nei­ther the city nor the land­lord for the devel­op­ment would com­ment to re­porters on why the water was shut off July 11. How­ever, one of the ten­ants, Ed­die Ros­siter, told the Jour­nal Pi­o­neer that city staff told him there was an is­sue with his land­lord.

Ros­siter said there was no warn­ing for ten­ants, who pay for util­i­ties as part of their rent to the McQuaid Court Board.

“There was some grumpy peo­ple around here,” Ros­siter said.

Lisa Hop­per has lived on McQuaid Court for seven years and said there has never been a prob­lem like this be­fore.

“You’ve got to be kid­ding me, that’s what I feel,” she said.

A city crew turned the water back on around noon the same day.

Ros­siter de­scribed the whole sit­u­a­tion as frus­trat­ing.

If it is in­deed the case that there was a prob­lem be­tween the city and the prop­erty owner, he feels the ten­ants should have been no­ti­fied by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity that some­thing was afoot be­fore the ten­ants woke up with­out water in the mid­dle of the sum­mer.

There are re­courses for peo­ple in this sit­u­a­tion un­der the pro­vin­cial Land­lord and Tenant Act, he said, but those op­tions are of lit­tle use when a ser­vice has al­ready been dis­con­nected.

The City of Sum­mer­side’s web­site re­gard­ing water ser­vices in­di­cates that if a tenant has a water util­ity ac­count in his or her own name and it be­comes in ar­rears, then the owner of the prop­erty could be in­formed of the sit­u­a­tion.

It should not be a big change in pol­icy to have the same cour­tesy ex­tended for the re­verse sit­u­a­tion, said Ros­siter.

“This is where pol­icy meets the hu­man con­di­tion,” he said.

“You’ve got to be kid­ding me, that’s what I feel.” Lisa Hop­per

COLIN MA­CLEAN/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

A City of Sum­mer­side em­ployee as­sists with turn­ing water ser­vices back on to McQuaid Court af­ter ser­vices were briefly dis­con­nected to the neigh­bour­hood on July 11.

COLIN MA­CLEAN/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Ed­die Ros­siter says ten­ants had no warn­ing that water ser­vices were to the neigh­bour­hood were go­ing to be dis­con­nected on July 11.

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